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Traditional sourdough (70% hydration)

Delicious sourdough with a beautiful crust. Made of organic malted brown flour and organic wholemeal rye starter.

  • 500g of organic malted brown flour
  • 300g of rye sourdough starter (I also tried to go for a standard 20%, e.g. 100g, however the results were not as good as using 300g of the starter)
  • 10g of salt (2% of the flour mass)
  • 350g of room temperature ale (70% of the flour mass)

This is a relatively low hydration recipe therefore I prefer using a quick method.

Begin with adding the starter, beer and salt. Mix the components with a spatula for a couple of minutes until the starter is well diluted. Add the flour and mix it in a bowl for a couple of minutes till it absorbs all the liquid and creates a consistent mass. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or (my preference) a shower cap and leave it to rest for 10 min.

Take the dough from the bowl and start mixing. For this recipe I will use a traditional mixing technique (one or two handed based on your preference, but no ‘slap and fold’ or ‘stretch and fold’). Normally it takes 15-20 min to mix. I keep using a windowpane technique to check the readiness of the dough (for those who are unaware of the windowpane check this link from 4:00 to 4:40 min.

Once you are happy with the condition of the dough, put it back into the mixing bowl and let it ferment. Previously I was following a rule of 3ish hours to ferment. However later I realised that this could be a hit and miss based on your flour, room temperature, activity of the starter, etc. I prefer now to control the rise by checking a volume increase of the dough. A bowl with volume measurements can come in handy for this. An increase in volume by 75-100% is sufficient to start the next step – proving.

Put the dough from the bowl onto the work bench, knock the air down and shape it into a ball and add some dough tension. Put the dough into a proofing basket and let it to sit on a bench for another 2-3 hours until it passes a poke test (I suggest to watch this video for the poke test or put it into a fridge overnight (my preferred method, so that I can bake bread in the morning prior to a busy office day).

Once the dough is proved, preheat your dutch oven and bake it for 20-30 minutes with the top on, and then for 30 min with the top off.

One more tip: If you are using a pyrex casserole instead of a dutch oven, after you complete baking switch off the oven and let the bread rest in it with the top off for another 20 minutes. This will improve the crust.

Enjoy your baking experience and beautiful and flavoursome loaf.